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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:18 pm    Post subject: Lens reviews Reply with quote

Many thanks for sample photos to everybody!! If you have time and feel to write some lines from these lenses please write here into the forum and I would like to take this review to mflenses.com lens review. Just personal impression is ok I willl do the rest to get parameters link photos etc.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's one that I wrote for you, for the Elmarit-R 180 last version.
When I have time I will add for the other lenses I sent samples for.
Being back to work unfortunately I will not be as productive as in the last days.

LEICA ELMARIT-R 180 second version
This is the second and last version of this lens, much more lightweight than the predecessor and also completely changed (and much improved) optically.
After this lens, Leica produced the APO version, which is yet a different design, and a superior lens, which however costs much more.
With it's 850 gr, the Elmarit-R 180 second version is amongst the lightest 180mm lenses of the same speed. Consider for instance that the last version of the Carl Zeiss Jena 2.8/180 Sonnar weights 1400 gr. (and it's also much bulkier).
The optical performance of this Elmarit is within the standard of the last versions of Leica -R lenses. That is to say that like all last-generation Elmarits, this lens, too, is perfectly sharp already wide open. This is a real f/2.8 180mm lens, you can use the full aperture and obtain fantastic results. This feature really makes the difference when you have to shoot sports, action, street life, or wildlife, especially in low light and without a tripod.
Size, speed and performance make of this lens a perfect walkaround lens for people who like to shoot with medium teles.
Stopped down, I personally prefer the "body" and depth of the Sonnar 180's photographs, but this judgement falls within the realm of the subjective preferences. Wide open, the Elmarit is a lot sharper than the Sonnar, and has little or no light falloff in the corners (whereas the Sonnar has plenty).
Colour-wise, this lens is a typical Leica, which means it gives the pictures a slightly cool tonality. You may or may not like it. I find it a very desireable feature for portraits (I dislike the ham-red faces), but not so for landscapes, for which I prefer the more balanced colour rendition of the Carl Zeiss lenses. If the cool tonality of the Leica lenses is disturbing for you, I suggest the use of a good skylight filter (such as the B+W one). Of course when shooting digital RAW the colour tonality can be adjusted effortlessly, but for those who still shoot slides, this can be a concern.
Conclusion: I can recommend this small, relatively lightweight and fast 180mm lens to every photographer who likes to walk a lot, perhaps without tripod, and who likes to shoot live events even in not ideal lighting conditions, and therefore needs a lens that is fully useable wide open. These are the situations where this lens really shines.

full sizes images are here

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you!

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another review:

CARL ZEISS Distagon 2.8/25 Contax version (improved)
The Distagon 25mm is the oldest lens design by Carl Zeiss that is still in production. The first design of this lens was made for the Contarex cameras, and since then, the lens knew an uninterrupted popular success, thanks to the extraordinary sharpness in the center of the frame and the excellent results obtained with close focusing, and in spite of a design flaw that caused the corners of this lens to be below average quality until 1984, when the optical scheme was improved.
The copy that I have (serial number 7297010) is a MM lens and as such it certainly features the improved optical design (the MM standard was introduced in 1985). My copy still shows some weakness in the corners wide open, but from f/5.6 on corners are nearly perfect, something that did not happen with pre-1984 copies, where corner problems are reportedly still evident at f/8.
This lens is one of my preferred Contax lenses, because of the excellent sharpness and (in my opinion) unparalleled colour rendition and saturation. Another plus are the close-up results: being able to focus until 25 cm from the subject (in this Contax version), the Distagon 25 is a quasi-macro lens, offering results that can challenge directly dedicated macro lenses.
Another excellent feature of this lens is that the optical quality remains very high even with the iris fully closed. This allows the photographer to use the available depth-of-field in full, for gloriously detailed landscapes.
If you plan to use this lens with an adapter on a Canon DSLR camera, one word of caution: the most commonly available C/Y to EOS adapters does not allow for infinity focus with this lens. I read reports that more expensive adapters do reach infinity with this lens, but I can not confirm them. A viable workaround is to sandpaper the more common adapter, removing some metal carefully until you reach a point where focusing to infinity is obtained. I have used this method and I can happily reach infinity focus now.
The only real shortcoming of this lens (aside from the corners problem) is the price: the used Contax MM version of this lens reach very high prices, while you will often be surprised by how much lower prices the Contax AE (pre-1984) version is sold for. This of course has to do with the people being aware of the 1984 improvement and wanting to pay more for an improved copy.
In case you are not interested in the (now old) Contax version, which is out of production and only available used, you may want to think about getting the newest version of this lens, available in Nikon, Pentax bayonet and M42 mounts. This newest version (manufactured in Japan by Cosina on behalf of Zeiss) is reportedly even furtherly improved compared to the last Contax version, and features other benefits like an excellent cinematic focusing ring, rounder iris shape (due to more blades), and an astounding minimum focusing distance of 17 cm.
Conclusion: the Distagon 2.8/25 is an excellent lens which, although not perfect, offers performances that other lenses of the same focal lenght simply do not. Whether the small FOV gain compared with the much cheaper Contax 2.8/28 is worth the (often significant) higher price, will be up to you to decide. In my opinion, it absolutely is worth the extra financial effort. If I had to buy the lens now, however, I would surely go for the newest version, because the newest features (described above) are surely worth the price.

PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great review!

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CARL ZEISS Distagon 2/28 "Hollywood" - original Contax version
The Carl Zeiss Contax Distagon 2/28 is one of the best lenses that I have or have tried. It is wide, fast, sharp wide open, and with incredible image quality.
This lens was nicknamed "Hollywood" because the optical scheme was elaborated starting from a cinematic lens. The designer is the mythical Erhard Glatzel, considered the most innovative and creative lens designer for Zeiss in the 20th century. The Hollywood Distagon is in fact his last creature, completed shortly before he died. To create this lens, Glatzel designed many prototypes, some of which are still today considered "impossible" because for their creation Glatzel planned the use of glasses with an index of refraction that was impossible in the time he designed the lens!
The most important innovation introduced by Glatzel with this model was the floating internal element that allows the lens to be optimized for both infinite and closeup focusing. A solution that proved to be excellent and was quickly adopted also for the then new Contax version of the Distagon 1.4/35.
Glatzel was simply striving for perfection with the Distagon 2/28, and although the lens is not perfect, it comes really close. About the only small weakness that it has, there is a bit of vignetting wide open, which is almost unavoidable in a wide angle lens of this speed.
For the rest, the lens delivers an impressive performance. It even improves on the distortion figure of the mythical Zeiss Biogon 28mm. The T* multicoating is so effective on this lens, that I can shoot against the sun and still have zero flare, only the unavoidable ghosts. The coating also allows for colours that are so saturated and pure that one would think were obtained with the use of UV and Polarizer filters, while there are none.
The sharpness is already more than good wide open, and become quickly excellent between 2.8 and 5.6.
The "trademark" Zeiss 3D effect is abundant and the fast speed allows for shallow DOF effects that are usually available only on normal focal lenghts.
Even completely stopped down the lens does not lose the impressive clarity of image that is it's most prominent feature.
Conclusion: if you have some money to spend (the Distagon 2/28 is not exactly cheap even when used), this is a lens that you can buy with your eyes closed: it will not let you down. It is simply a truly professional quality lens. Zeiss has announced the revival of this lens in their new manual focus lenses lines for Nikon and Pentax mounts. The new version is slightly different from the Glatzel design, in that it features 10 elements instead of 9, but for the rest the specs appear to be the same if not even better.


PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While Attila should publish soon my 2/28 samples on his site, here's a preview.
This is the whole image, resized down to 900 px:

And this is a link to a webpage containing the full size, 100% original 5D image:


If your browser resizes the picture, please make sure to adjust what's necessary on your browser to be able to look at the image in full 100% resolution and size.

Note the quality corner to corner...


PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:

Yes, and this is EOS 5D, so we are talking of real corners here!
I sincerely can not tell any quality difference in the corners from the centre.

Virtually same resolution edges to centre, virtually same sharpness (at least at the resolution of the 5D, perhaps with a 26 megapixels camera you would notice something, I don't know), absolutely no typical wideangle corner problems such as softness, coma, CA.

And also: virtually no distortion: try to shoot this scene with any other 28mm lens and you will see strange things happen to the lines of the building...

The lens is a gem, and the new version is reported to be even better, just I don't know how it could be better than this on a 35mm frame, but I'm very curious and probably I'll be starting to save 100 Eur each month to get the new one in one year from now... Shocked

PostPosted: Thu Sep 20, 2007 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW! Shocked

PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


First review is published.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attila wrote:

First review is published.

Error 404, Attila.

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Right url is:


PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great! That's professional.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Nikon E series 35mm f2.5 Reply with quote

Introduced in 1979 to accompany the Nikon EM and updated with a chrome ring in 1981 (mine is the latter type). Whilst treated with some derision on it's release due to the largely plastic construction the 35mm E Series in comparison to many of the consumer-oriented current Nikkors feels fairly well constructed, certainly on a par with the average AF-D prime lens, and unlike some of Nikons current offerings has a metal mount. Focusing is smooth and precise, although lacking the lovely viscosity of classic manual Nikkors. Aperture stops are easily found, although not as firm feeling as metal bodied Nikkors of the era. I suspect the lens is a lot more robust than given by first impressions. Unlike many contemporary lenses a clear depth of field scale and IR point are marked.

The lens is extremely compact and lightweight, only a little deeper than the 50mm f1.8 Series E. Close focusing goes down to a handy 30cm. Despite some internet information to the contrary the smallish front element is clearly multi-coated on my example - I don't know about the early versions before the chrome ring was added.

On a Nikon D200 the lens gives a similar field of view to a 50mm on film. As a standard lens I prefer the slightly wider view of the 28mm on a DX sensor body, however it's still a handy angle, and has the advantage that the 35mm shows no visible barrel distortion even at close range.If there is just measurable distortion I've been unable to detect it. Chromatic abberation/fringing is very well controlled, but in extreme circumstances cab just be visible when viewed full size - e.g. tree branches against a white sky. On a 1.5 crop sensored body, I can detect no visible light fall off even wide open.

Sharpness wide open is good, and very good at 5.6-8. Out of focus areas are rendered fairly smoothly, if not with the beauty of some lenses. Despite the lack of recessing of the front element the lens seems remarkably flare resistant. Contrast is not as high as the best Nikkors I've used, but more than acceptable, and colour saturation is good but not astounding.

All in all if you can cope with the slightly plasticy feel the lens is a solid performer on a digital sensor. Available secondhand for very modest sums it's a bargain alternative to other 35mm lenses.

Last edited by Richard_D on Mon Nov 05, 2007 12:31 pm; edited 2 times in total

PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks Richard!

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2007 10:31 am    Post subject: Nikon 50mm f2 AI Nikkor Reply with quote

Introduced in 1977, along with the AI 1.4, the 50mm f2 ai was only available for a short time but marked the start of the AI era and due to it's relative low cost sold in large numbers. Optically it was essentially unchanged from the pre-AI version.

It's a classic Nikkor of the period, very solidly built with a precise well marked focus ring that exhibits the lovely smooth viscosity of the best Nikkors. Aperture stops are firm with no looseness.

The front element is deeply recessed making the lens fairly flare resistant even with the relatively simple multi-coating. Widely regarded as one of Nikon's sharpest lenses, I've compared it with f1.8 and f1.4 versions and at f2 it is the sharpest of the three, giving very good sharpness wide open and superb sharpness at f5.6 and beyond, although on my D200 I've found at minimum aperture (f16) diffraction sometimes softens the image slightly. Colour rendition is typical Nikkor, with strong bright, but not unnatural colours. Contrast is fairly high, bokeh is okay but nothing special. It works well with a reversing ring to give about 1:2 maginfication.

I've owned this lens since I bought my first Nikon FE many years back and it remains one of my favourite lenses on my D200, with the crop factor making it a good lens for portraits and detail shots.

Available cheaply secondhand, if you don't need the extra speed of the other 50mm Nikkors this is a superb choice.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:38 am    Post subject: Nikon 100mm f2.8 E series Reply with quote

Again introduced in 1979 to accompany the Nikon EM and updated with a chrome ring in 1981 (mine is the earlier type).

Full size images are here..,

Review with pictures and technical details is here

The 100mm E Series makes a cheap alternative to the highly regarded 105 2.5. Whilst the rings are plastic the barrel is metal and focusing is smooth and precise with the lovely viscosity of classic manual Nikkors - it's far better than the shorter E Series primes. Aperture stops are easily found, but the ring is a little sloppy in feel. Usual colour hyperfocal distance marks and IR mark are present.

The lens is extremely compact and lightweight, only a little deeper than non-pancake standard lenses. My example isn't multi-coated, I've yet to establish whether later versions were.

If there is just measurable distortion I've been unable to detect it and I've not managed to produce chromatic abberation/fringing. On a 1.5 crop sensored body, I can detect no visible light fall off even wide open.

Sharpness wide open is very good, stopped down to f4 it's superb. Out of focus areas are rendered fairly smoothly at f4. Flare resistant isn't great - If the sun is near the subject the otherwise very good contrast drops. Colour saturation is good but not astounding.

Fairly robust feeling despite the use of plastics, and flare resistance aside this is a very nice performer. Seems to be increasing in price on the secondhand market, but still available relatively cheaply, it's a great low cost addition to the kit bag.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Nikon 28mm 2.8 E Series Reply with quote

Nikon 28mm f2.8 E Series

Perhaps one of the cheapest Nikon lens available on the used market the Nikon 28mm f2.8 E Series is a solid performer. Nikon considered the optical design good enough for it to be used in the first series of AF lenses. Its not a lens that you are likely to fall in love with, but its faults are very minor and it is capable of producing very nice shots.

Sharpness is pretty good, it improves a lot at f4 and is very good up to and including f11, even at f16-f22 it is useable and it is difficult to ascertain to what degree the slightly softer results at these small apertures is due to digital sensor diffraction or lens optics. Wide open the lens performs fairly well in the centre, but edges are quite soft largely due to curvature something which is very apparent at its respectable 30cm close focus. For close work Id want to stop down to f5.6 where depth of field greatly reduces the problem. Barrel distortion is apparent again particularly close up, but its not overly dramatic and wont be seen in most shots. Chromatic aberration is pretty well controlled, but not invisible in high contrast details, particularly at wider apertures. Flare resistance is pretty good for a wide-angle, and the post 1981 version is multi-coated (I dont know about the earlier non-ring versions).

Construction is very much plastic based, although it does have a metal mount, and the post 1981 version comes with an aluminium ring. Focus is smooth but quite loose it feels very much like the current auto-focus primes i.e. its precise enough, but theres little resistance. Aperture stops are just a little loose they hold okay, but dont positively click into place.

Its very cheap, lightweight, compact and very competent. At current prices it would be great for a travel kit or a budget set up, or for someone who only occasionally uses this focal range. Good but not stunning.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nikon 28mm f2.8 E Series

I have this lens and I like it very much.
It is great of Nikon to have sold a series of affordable lenses of such high quality for photographers who, like me 15-20 years ago, could not afford to buy the best lenses.
Especially in a time where there was no Ebay and no facility to buy Russian lenses except for those who occasionally showed up in local shops.
The E Series 2.8/28 is a budget lens that does not look like one.

PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much Richard!

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, here my first real contribution to this thread:

Tamron 24 f2.5 01B (Adaptall-2)

I bought this lens from our member Richard_D (Thank you!), although I already have a Nikkor-N.C 24 f2.8 which I have bought from our member Orio. Wink
But I thought the Tamron would be a good lens to have, because I first can finally compare my Nikkor to a lens of the same focal range and see if the Nikkor really is as good as I think it is and second I can use this Tamron at my Nikon EM since it has AI-functionality (which my Nikkor 24 has not).
24mm at a film cam are impressive.

OK, let's come to my short report.

I very much like the mechanical quality of the lens. It is really small (which is nice) but feels heavy enough to evoke a feeling of trust in the photographer.
The focus ring turn smoothly and the aperture ring snaps in with a nice and luscious "click".

The Tamron lens is sharp, not amazingly sharp, but definitely sharp enough, not worse than any of my well repected 28mm Vivitars (Kiron and Komine). I have the impression that the Nikkor is a little sharper, especially in the centre of the image or when wide open. But even at f2.5 the Tamron is absolutely usable, of course a little softer than when stopped down two steps.
What is fascinating with the Tamron 2.5/24 is that I cannot spot any difference in sharpness between the centre and the edge of the image from f4 on. But this may be connected to my crop DSLR. I will have to verify that on film with my Nikom EM.

The colours it renders are nice and as far as I can judge really reliable. But here of course the AWB of my EOS helps a lot. I will have to verify that with manual WB and on film again.

The lens came in a very solid Tamron lens quiver and with a wide angle hood (Thanks, Richard!). This hood seems to do a great job, since flares are an absolute exception. (Will try that on a really sunny day.)

The lack of distortion of this 24mm Tamron is more than acceptable. Of course in critical situations there will be some distortion visible, but in most cases you can't spot it.

All in all, I would say the Tamron 24 f2.5 is second to the Nikkor 24 f2.8, but it gets very close and definitely is a very recommendable lens!

If you can find one, go for it. It will not disappoint you!!

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very close to Nikon ?!!! Not to bad at all especially if we compare it's price ! Many thanks for this review ! Can you put samples to you MF lenses member gallery ? It's make 800px pictures to parallel with full size and you can link here form there and I also able to link to the main gallery.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will, Attila, but give me some time please. Wink

PostPosted: Sun Nov 18, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many thanks in advance!